Pete Carroll isn’t ready to move Luke Joeckel to left tackle yet — he is holding out hope that Rees Odhiambo will play with confidence and consistency, letting his physical talent take over.
In the wake of George Fant’s season-ending ACL injury, Carroll indicated Monday that Odhiambo will get first crack at replacing Fant, Joeckel will remain at left guard and Mark Glowinski will remain at right guard.
The Seahawks also traded for versatile lineman Matt Tobin, who started 20 games at guard for the Eagles since coming into the league undrafted in 2013. Tobin started for the Eagles at right tackle last weekend, and the Seahawks surely see him as a versatile backup.
The makeup of the line really depends on Odhiambo now. Replacing Fant vs. Minnesota, he showed all of the inconsistency Carroll and Tom Cable had mentioned last week.
“He did well at times,” Carroll said. “His running game was good. Passing game had some good stuff and some stuff he’d like to fix.”
Carroll seems to really hope Odhiambo can settle in and seize the job, so the coaches don’t have to reshuffle.
“We drafted him highly with the thought that he’d be able to do this,” Carroll said of the 2016 third-round pick. “I’ve never backed off the thought. Physically, he can do it all. Now, he’s just got to make sure he can settle in and execute and function really well with the guys. He’s got Luke sitting next to him, which will really help him. He’s physically really good; it’s just a matter of experience right now.
“He’s been a left tackle most of his career, so it’s not a transition for him at all; it’s just a matter of him stepping up and just being right. To do that, I’ve already talked to him: Just settle down, just settle down and confidently go about his work and let the plays come to him. I think he’s going to have the chance to be really good. We drafted him to be a starting player. We drafted him with the thought he could be a left tackle. So, here we go. We’ll see what happens.”
If Odhiambo fails, Carroll will reluctantly move Joeckel to left tackle.
“Luke has been a starting left tackle in the NFL — he was drafted as that — and, if that’s what winds up happening, that winds up happening,” Carroll said. “We like Luke playing at left guard, and we’d like to keep it that way. …”
Carroll was asked whether rookie Ethan Pocic would be an option at left tackle, and he seemed to like the idea of leaving him on the right side: “He’s played left tackle in the past. He’s done everything. He’s already done a little bit of everything for us. That’s a possibility. He’s only played a short time there at the left side. He’s been primarily a right-side guy.”
Pocic seems likely to work in a reserve role as a rookie. Carroll said Germain Ifedi “is doing well. I don’t think we have any problem with thinking about him playing right tackle now. He has a lot of stuff that he is working on, the little things he is working on technically. But he looks very much the part, comes off the ball really well in the running game. His sets are pretty nice in the pass game, but we are looking for consistency.”
Carroll added, “We keep throwing different guys at him in practice to make sure he has to adjust and he sees what he is up against and all that. He looks like he is doing a good job so far.”
As of this moment, Carroll’s preferred line appears to be (left to right) Odhiambo, Joeckel, Justin Britt, Glowinski or Oday Aboushi, Ifedi. The RG loser and Pocic would be reserves, with Tobin probably favored over Joey Hunt and Jordan Roos for the eighth spot.
If Odhiambo is not up to the task, the line probably would be Joeckel, Glowinski, Britt, Aboushi, Ifedi.
The left tackle shuffle aside, Carroll thinks the line is going in the right direction.
“I’m really pleased with what we’ve done at our O-line from last year to this year,” he said. “You can see the difference, and we’re happy about the progress that we are making. There’s a lot more to be made.”